Ukip are cock-a-hoop this afternoon with news that controversial proprietor Richard Desmond is to donate £300,000 to Farage’s party ahead of the 2015 election. Express sources confirm that Dirty Desmond gave the Ukip leader the full treatment on 2 December, with the Nigel personally given a full tour of his Northern and Shell Thames-side complex.
Farage visited both the Express and Star as well as the Channel 5 newsroom before retiring up to Desmond’s budget-Bond Villan style lair overlooking Tower Bridge to hammer out the deal. ‘He was shown the full-weight of the machine Desmond was promising to throw behind him’ says one inky-fingered whisperer.
The porno-peddling baron has form in political donations — whacking Tony Blair £100,000 in 2002— but news of this particular bung will come as a hammer blow to Tory party chairman Grant Shapps who has been buttering up Desmond himself. Mr S snapped them deep in conversation over lunch late last year:
One disgruntled Westminster source claims:
‘It’s sad to think the Express team haven’t had a pay-rise in six years, just to line the pockets of a politician who said he will do a deal with Ed Miliband.’
A point that has not gone unsaid on the newsroom floor.